AAA expects Arizona holiday travel season to be among busiest in decades

Dec 13, 2022, 9:50 AM | Updated: 9:52 am
(Flickr Photo/Arizona Department of Transportation)...
(Flickr Photo/Arizona Department of Transportation)
(Flickr Photo/Arizona Department of Transportation)

PHOENIX — The upcoming holiday travel season is expected to be among the busiest in decades in Arizona, according to AAA.

The auto club is predicting over 2.1 million Arizonans will take trips between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. That would be Arizona’s third-busiest holiday travel season since 2000 and an increase of 3.3% from 2021.

“The travel is going to be a little more spread out since it’s Christmas and New Year’s landing on a Sunday,” AAA Arizona spokesman Julian Parades told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“Most people are going to be traveling on a weekday. The travel period is a little bit longer because of that.”

Nationwide, AAA is predicting the most holiday travelers since 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. The auto club expects 101.8 million people to go by vehicle, up 2% from 2021, and 7.2 million by airplane, up 14% from last year.

Parades said Arizonans tend to make holiday trips within driving distance.

“People seem to be going to Southern California, so that’s an easy commute by car,” he said.

The busiest days on the road are expected to be the Friday before Christmas and Dec. 27-28, AAA said.

Drivers are advised to hit the road during off-peak hours, either before 2 p.m. or after 8 p.m. Otherwise, they could see travel times that are up to 25% longer than usual.

Parades also said motorists should check the forecast before their trip, because weather changes can slow down or halt traffic.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Heidi Hommel contributed to this report.

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AAA expects Arizona holiday travel season to be among busiest in decades